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Guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions

Letter issued by NHS England on 23.08.16


Dear Colleagues


Re: Guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions

I am writing to bring to your attention the new GMC Guidance, which sets out the standards that are expected of doctors who provide cosmetic interventions. The guidance came into force on the 1 June 2016 and applies to all doctors who carry out both surgical and non-surgical procedures including those who may be responsible for supervising others.

The GMC defines a cosmetic procedure as ‘’any intervention, procedure or treatment carried out with the primary objective of changing an aspect of a patient’s physical appearance."

You may be aware that this guidance is a response to national concerns and a number of recent reports highlighting the need for better and tighter regulation of this sector (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192028/Review_of_the_Regulation_of_Cosmetic_Interventions.pdf )


The GMC's guidance can be found here:


It is important to highlight that this Guidance from the GMC entails the following expectations, which can have implications for your annual appraisal and for maintaining your license to practise as doctors:

GPs involved in providing cosmetic interventions, as defined by the GMC, must declare the full scope of their work as part of their annual appraisal. This applies to both NHS and private patients.

As part of the annual appraisal, practitioners who engage in any cosmetic procedures are expected to be able to provide evidence of appropriate training, ongoing learning and quality outcomes, including proactive monitoring of outcomes and of patient feedback. Practitioners should also provide evidence of participation in peer review and, where they exist, participation in external peer review systems and compilation of registers. 

GPs are reminded that adherence to GMC guidance in relation to commercial dealings and conflicts of interest are relevant issues in the context of cosmetic procedures, as is specific registration with the CQC and any issues that arise from dual use of premises.

I also wish to remind GPs involved in conducting or being responsible for oversight of cosmetic interventions conducted by others to ensure that they and their staff have adequate indemnity cover for the full scope of their practice.  Even if a procedure can legally be undertaken by an unqualified person, any UK licensed doctor conducting the procedure does so as a medical practitioner.

This GMC guidance should help drive up standards, reduce risk, maintain trust and ensure that patients receive the highest quality care. From now on, as an integral element of whole practice appraisal, appraisers will be expected to discuss with appraisees adherence to all aspects of Good Medical Practice, including this latest GMC Guidance.

Should you have any questions about the contents of this letter, please direct them, including 'Cosmetic Procedures Guidance' in the subject line, to:

For Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire:



For Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire: 



With kind regards


Yours sincerely


Professor Aly Rashid MB ChB MD FRCGP

Medical Director and Responsible Officer

NHS England, Midlands & East (Central Midlands)


Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 1174 views

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